PRINCE Harry hailed former forces personnel in "dark places" during a moving speech to mark the annual Warrior Games tonight.
The Duke of Sussex, who served in the Army for a decade, paid tribute to servicemen and women as he spoke of "service" from his multimillion pound home in exclusive Montecito, California.
He was introduced by Dr Jill Biden, who saluted him for his "heart" in a speech live-streamed online.
It comes just weeks after he and Meghan said they'd been left "speechless" by the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan in a lengthy 218-word statement.
The pair made no mention of Joe Biden, who has faced international criticism for his decision to withdraw troops, in the document.
The president's wife was the first to speak this evening, and immediately paid tribute to Harry.
She said the duke was among those to step forward and serve in the years after 9/11.
"I was reminded of the humanity that shines through the inhumanity of that day. There was a call to defend the values we hold dear," she said.
"A courageous group of men and women stepped forward to say, 'Me. I will go'. That includes you, Harry.
"You live by a simple principle – serve together, recover together. It's a philosophy not limited by the flag you wave.
"Your brothers and sisters in arms are connected by something so much deeper than the borders that separate us.
"You've dedicated time, talent and heart to lifting up service members from around the globe."
"Dr Biden, it's absolute pleasure and joy to see you against after so many years," the royal replied.
And the prince, who has told of his own battles with mental health, said the games are "so important" to those struggling.
"It is ultimately the reminder of service, both at home and overseas," he said.
"As we know, once served, always serving."
The royal, who wore a suit and white shirt with an open collar, says sport is vital to the rehabilitation of servicemen and women.
"The pride on your faces makes me incredibly happy to know how far you guys have come, the dark places you've been to, and where you are now – stronger than ever before, no doubt," the royal told veterans.
"To see you guys smiling, when I know how much you've been through – it's not just about you and your families.
"You have to remember, you're doing this for your brothers and sisters in arms.
"And those people who are in a really dark place – you know what it's like, you've been there yourselves, recovered for yourselves, and you're leading them to their own recovery."
Harry and Dr Biden attended the online event to celebrate athletes, their families and caregivers after the 2021 US event was postponed due to Covid.
It was the royal's first event with Dr Biden since she became First Lady – and since he and Meghan moved to the United States.
Harry first met Dr Biden at a reception for British and US wounded warriors in Washington.
Once served, always serving
At the time, Joe Biden was serving as Barack Obama’s Vice President.
Since then, Harry and Jill have met up on a number of occasions.
She even travelled to London to support the royal’s Invictus Games.
The pair are understood to have bonded over their military ties.
Dr Biden's stepson Beau, a former army major, tragically passed away in 2015 from brain cancer.
The president previously joked he was "a little worried" about how much time Harry and Jill were spending together.
"Jill went to London for the last Games. She spent too much damn time with Prince Harry," he said.
'A LITTLE WORRIED'
The Bidens later attended the Games in Toronto in 2017 – the same year that Harry stepped out in public with Meghan for the first time.
The Department of Defence Warrior Games is an annual event, first held in 2010, that celebrates the resiliency of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran US military service members.
Prince Harry, who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan during his decade of military service, first attended the games in 2013 in Colorado and set up the Invictus Games for wounded warriors a year later.
The Duchess of Sussex did not make an appearance today.
The event comes weeks after her biographer said she could run for president in the US within the next 10 years.
Ahead of her 40th birthday last month, author Tom Bower said: "And what about the next 40 years?
MEG 'COULD BE PRESIDENT'
"Once Harry has finished promoting his books, will Meghan launch her own global campaign to engage in the swirling muck of American politics?"
He added that Meghan could use her high-profile connections to fuel her political dreams.
"With the support of Democrat godfathers the Clintons and the Obamas, Meghan should have little difficulty getting nominated as one of the state’s 40 Congressmen sent to Washington," Bower wrote.
"If Californians flock to her Crusade for Goodness, then after two terms — just four years — she can establish her political roots. After that, fate would take over.
"If one of the state’s two Senate seats comes free and she has mastered the trade, a mixed-race woman should be a strong runner."
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